Buddhism

Awakening to What Is

Conscious living in the postmodern worldWhat might it mean to live consciously? On a daily basis and from a variety of sources—articles, books, websites, personal conversations, even media and advertising—we come face to face with evocative yet misleading phrases like conscious eating, conscious relationships, conscious sex, conscious art, conscious work, and more. We have even heard the phrase, conscious consumption. And often, these particular strivings towards consciousness are referred to […]

The Grace of Great Things

What in today’s world ministers our most cherished hope and ideals? Where do we seek—and hope to find—in Rilke’s words, the grace of great things? What brings us inspiration and guidance, and in whom can we trust? Strangely, we have come to ennoble the marketplace itself, honoring the free exchange of goods and services, and now, even of ideas, often canned and predigested for mass consumption. In various forms of […]

Living in the Light

Social Engagement in Spiritual Practice, Art … and LifeAs soon as a plant breaks the surface of the earth, it begins to live in the light, to participate—receive and contribute to and from the complex eco-system that surrounds it.  Organic life both gives and takes from its environment. Are we any different? Personal evolution—in the form of contemplative disciplines, creative development, and the search for awakening—takes place in context, in […]

Devotion: Giving and Receiving

With the holidays upon us, we’ve been thinking a great deal about devotion, and what it means to give and to receive. The holidays are meant to invoke feelings of connection, peace, love, and joy. Even so, the streets and shopping centers are wretched with anxiety-ridden consumers. The act of giving has lost its significance as a symbol of love and devotion. Giving can be an act of gratitude, a […]

The 50 Most Influential Spiritual Books of Our Time

“Books are to be called for and supplied on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half-sleep; but in the highest sense an exercise, a gymnastic struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself.” —Walt Whitman A list compiled from our own thought and experience. This is not meant to be objective or universal, but merely the books that we perceive as being useful and important. […]

Yoga & The Search for Authenticity

I asked one of my teachers recently, “How do I know which tapasya (austerity/renunciation) is the right one for me?” He replied, “It’s the one you least want to do.” My own personal tapasya transformed over a three-week period. I went from abstaining from sugar, to abstaining from seeing people, to abstaining from certain relationships. I found that I could live without sugar, chocolate, and wine easily. What really got […]

I Quit Teaching Yoga

A while back I quit teaching yoga. I took a sabbatical for one year. The decision to stop was not made hastily or without foresight. It was a long time coming. The reason I quit was due to my ambivalence about what it means to be a real teacher. Being a teacher in the postmodern world presents us with problems we don’t yet have solutions for. I am not a […]

The Artist and the Yogini

“It is an audacious notion to put forth in this age of science and willful determination that one’s existence is somehow inspired, guided, and even managed by unseen forces outside our control. Whether called fate, destiny, or the hand of God, slender threads are at work bringing coherence and continuity to our lives. Over time they weave a remarkable tapestry. … These are the mysterious forces that guide us and […]